New to Yoga? | Yoga for Beginners

Frequently Asked Questions


Bernal ClassAre there any pre-requisites for taking classes at Bernal Yoga? Do you offer any yoga for beginners?

No! You are welcome—and encouraged—to explore any class you wish.* However, we do offer some classes and series that are designed for people who are new to yoga, regardless of their fitness background. For instance our Beginning Yoga series, which we offer frequently, is a great introduction to the fundamentals of the practice, and will prepare you to deepen and expand it in a multitude of directions.

I can’t make it to the Beginning Yoga Series. Which classes should I come to?

No worries! If you can’t make it for the full series, we have a lot of ongoing weekly classes that are perfect for beginners, or even intermediate/advanced students who are interested in revisiting the basics or introducing a slower, gentler quality to their practice. Good choices include classes like Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Simple Yoga, Strength, and Stamina, and Yoga Basics, among others. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you might also want to consider some of our all-levels Vinyasa classes, which are offered throughout the week. Take a look at our Styles page to learn more about each of these.

In general, we encourage our students to explore a wide range of classes and find out which ones best suit your needs and interests. Our New Student Starter Pass ($35 for two weeks of unlimited classes) is a great option for newcomers to Bernal Yoga, and will allow you to sample a variety of class styles and instructors.

Do I need to be flexible and/or athletic to do yoga? What benefits can I expect?Bernal Front Desk

Absolutely not! You can start practicing yoga at any level of flexibility or athleticism. However, yoga can certainly help you become stronger and more flexible. People report experiencing a variety of benefits after practicing yoga; it supports every system in the body (muscular, skeletal, digestive, nervous…you name it!) and many practitioners notice changes after a single class. You may feel less stressed, more centered, and deeply grounded after a single hour of yoga, and with a long-term, regular practices, the benefits accrue exponentially. The practice builds strength, stability, flexibility, and stamina, and can prepare you for (or support you in) a more vigorous athletic practice. Yoga also includes elements of mindfulness and breath awareness that work wonders in terms of relaxation and stress relief. It can provide you with tools to achieve more peace and well-being in every facet of your life.

What happens in a yoga class? What does yoga have to do with religion?

Although it depends on the style (see below), many yoga classes start with a slow, grounding, breath-centered warm-up series. Then, the instructor may guide you through a number of carefully-sequenced standing and balancing asanas, or poses, peaking with one or two that are more challenging, or require more strength. He or she may wind down with a few seated and/or reclined positions, and most classes will close with several minutes of savasana, or corpse pose. This is often described as the most difficult (and most important) pose of all, as it requires you to lay in stillness, being present with your breath and your thoughts. It will allows your body to integrate the benefits of the practice and emerge centered and refreshed.

The roots of yoga are found in ancient Indian philosophy and religion, and for many people, yoga is a deeply spiritual practice that nourishes their body, mind, and soul. However, many practitioners approach it from a purely secular standpoint, relishing its practical elements of fitness and mindfulness. There is no “right” approach! At Bernal Yoga, we are committed to a non-dogmatic environment that is 100% welcoming and affirming.

JasonGillenwater-0002How do I know which class I should take? What’s the difference between all the different types?

There are many styles of yoga, and at Bernal Yoga we are proud to offer a wide variety. If you are new to the practice, you may enjoy some of our slower, gentler classes. If you are interested in a more robust athletic practice, you may wish to explore some of our vinyasa and alignment-based classes. Vinyasa Flow classes link breath with movement, and may range in intensity from mellower practices to stronger, more vigorous sequences—they can definitely get your heart rate going! Alignment-based classes, like Hatha Yoga, are rooted in principles of anatomical alignment and build strength and flexibility.

In general, if you are trying to decide which class to take, we recommend reading our class descriptions, emailing [email protected], or coming to a class a bit early to chat with the instructor. Above all, remember to listen to—and trust—your body; it’s your best teacher!

* Some classes may include a disclaimer in the description reading “Not recommended for beginners,” and if you are brand new to yoga, we would advise you to consider other options. Don’t hesitate to email [email protected] if you have any questions about the suitability of a specific class given your health/fitness background.